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Marcelo H. del Pilar

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Marcelo H. del Pilar

Marcelo H. del Pilar
Marcelo H. del Pilar c. 1889
Born Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán
August 30, 1850
Bulacán, Bulacan, Philippines
Died July 4, 1896(1896-07-04) (aged 45)
Barcelona, Spain
Cause of death
Nationality Filipino
Alma mater Colegio de San José
Universidad de Santo Tomás
Occupation Writer, lawyer, journalist
Organization La Solidaridad
Religion Roman Catholicism
Spouse(s) Marciana H. del Pilar
(1878–1896; his death)
Children Sofía H. del Pilar
Anita H. del Pilar de Marasigan
Parents Julián H. del Pilar (father)
Blasa Gatmaitán (mother)

Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán (August 30, 1850 – July 4, 1896), better known by his pen name Plaridel,[1] was a Filipino writer, lawyer, and journalist. He was the second and last editor of the La Solidaridad (Solidarity), the newspaper of the Reform Movement in Spain.[2]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life (1850-1880) 1.1
      • Birth and family background 1.1.1
      • Early education (mid 1850s-1869) 1.1.2
      • Interruption of law studies at UST (1869) 1.1.3
      • Cavite mutiny (1872) 1.1.4
      • Activities after the Cavite mutiny and marriage (1873-1878) 1.1.5
      • Return to UST and graduation (1878-1880) 1.1.6
    • Anti-friar campaign in the Philippines (1880-1888) 1.2
      • Diariong Tagalog (1882) 1.2.1
      • Anti-friar activities in Malolos (1885) 1.2.2
      • The Binondo incident (1887) 1.2.3
      • Implementation of Quiroga's decree on funerals (1887) 1.2.4
      • Establishment of schools in Bulacan (1888) 1.2.5
      • Anti-friar protest in Manila (1888) 1.2.6
      • Del Pilar's defense of Rizal's Noli Me Tángere (1888) 1.2.7
      • Later activities in the Philippines and escape to Spain (1888) 1.2.8
    • Propaganda movement in Spain (1889-1896) 1.3
      • Closure of La Solidaridad (1895) 1.3.1
      • Later years, illness, and death (1895-1896) 1.3.2
  • Reactions after death 2
  • Return of del Pilar's remains (1920) and final internment (1984) 3
  • Freemasonry 4
  • Popular culture 5
  • Notable works 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Bibliography 9
  • External links 10


Early life (1850-1880)

Birth and family background

A replica of Marcelo H. del Pilar's ancestral house and birthplace in Bulacán, Bulacan. This is now a museum-library housing del Pilar memorabilia.

Marcelo Hilario del Pilar y Gatmaitán was born on August 30, 1850 in Cupang (now Barangay San Nicolás), Bulacán, Bulacan.[3] He was baptized "Marcelo Hilario" on September 4, 1850.[4] The surname of his grandmother, "del Pilar", was added to comply with the decree issued by Governor-General Narciso Clavería in 1849.[5]

Del Pilar’s parents owned several farms, some fish ponds, and an animal-power mill.[6] His father, Julián Hilario del Pilar, was a Tagalog grammarian, poet, and speaker.[7] He was a "three time" gobernadorcillo (municipal mayor) of his pueblo (town). Julián later held the position of oficial de mesa (government clerk) of the alcalde mayor (provincial governor).[8] Blasa Gatmaitán, del Pilar’s mother, was a descendant of the noble Gatmaitáns. She was known as "Doña Blasica".[4]

The ninth of ten children, del Pilar's siblings were: Toribio (priest, deported to the Mariana Islands in 1872),[9] Fernando (father of General Gregorio del Pilar),[10] Andrea, Dorotea, Estanislao, Juan, Hilaria (married to Deodato Arellano),[11] Valentín, and María. The share of each was very small and del Pilar renounced his in favor of his siblings.[1]

Early education (mid 1850s-1869)

Del Pilar learned to play the piano, violin, and flute at an early age.[12] He learned his first letters from his paternal uncle Alejo del Pilar, the clerk of the court of Quiapo in 1860.[13] He began his studies in the school of Sr. Hermenigildo Flores.[14] He later transferred at the Colegio de San José in Manila.[3] After obtaining his Bachiller en Artes, he pursued law at the Universidad de Santo Tomás.

Interruption of law studies at UST (1869)

In 1869, del Pilar acted as a padrino or godfather at a baptism in San Miguel, Manila.[9] Since he was not a resident of the area, he questioned the excessive baptismal fee charged by the parish priest. The priest was outraged by this statement. As a result the judge, Félix García Gavieres, sent del Pilar to Old Bilibid Prison (then known as Carcel y Presidio Correccional). He was released after thirty days.[15]

Cavite mutiny (1872)

During the time of the Andrés Bonifacio.[40]

Later years, illness, and death (1895-1896)

Del Pilar's last years saw his descent into extreme poverty. He often missed his meals and during winter, he kept himself warm by smoking discarded cigarette butts he picked up in the streets. Suffering from tuberculosis, del Pilar decided to return to the Philippines. His illness worsened that he had to cancel his journey.[41] He was taken to the Hospital de la Santa Cruz (Hospital Civil) in Barcelona. Del Pilar died there on July 4, 1896, a few days before the Cry of Pugad Lawin (Cry of Balintawak).[42] He was buried the following day in a borrowed grave at the Cementerio del Sub-Oeste (Southwest Cemetery).
Marcelo H. Del Pilar
The National Shrine of Marcelo H. del Pilar in San Nicolás, Bulacán, Bulacan

Reactions after death

News of his death reached the Philippines. La Politica de España en Filipinas, the organ of the friars, paid homage to him: Ramón Blanco y Erenas, the Governor-General of the Philippines at that time, eulogized del Pilar as:

Return of del Pilar's remains (1920) and final internment (1984)

Marcelo H. del Pilar's monument (Bulacan's provincial heroes' park, Bulacan State University).

Del Pilar's remains were returned to the Philippines on December 3, 1920 and was buried initially at the Manila North Cemetery.[46] It was later transferred to his birthplace in Bulacán, Bulacan on August 30, 1984, under a monument (see main article: Marcelo H. Del Pilar National Shrine).[47]


Del Pilar was initiated into Freemasonry in 1889.[48] He served as venerable master of the famous Solidaridad lodge of Madrid. He became a close friend of Miguél Moráyta Sagrario, a professor at the Universidad Central de Madrid and Grand Master of Masons of the Grande Oriente Español.[49]

Popular culture

Del Pilar was portrayed by actor Dennis Marasigan in the award-winning 1998 film, José Rizal.[50]

Notable works

  • Caiigat Cayó (Be as Slippery as an Eel, 1888)[30]
  • Dasalan at Tocsohan (Prayers and Mockeries, 1888) [32]
  • Ang Cadaquilaan nang Dios (The Greatness of God, 1888)[51]
  • La Soberanía Monacal en Filipinas (Monastic Supremacy in the Philippines, 1888)[52]
  • Pasióng Dapat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Tauong Babasa (Passion That Should Inflame the Heart of the Reader, 1888)[33]
  • La Frailocracía Filipina (Friarocracy in the Philippines, 1889)[53]
  • Sagót ng España sa Hibíc ng Filipinas (Spain's Reply to the Cry of the Philippines, 1889)[54]
  • Dupluhan... Dalits... Bugtongs (A Poetical Contest in Narrative Sequence, Psalms, Riddles, 1907)[55]
  • Sa Bumabasang Kababayan (unpublished)[55]

See also


  1. ^ a b Kahayon 1989, p. 52.
  2. ^ a b Keat 2004, p. 756
  3. ^ a b Schumacher 1997, p. 105.
  4. ^ a b Villarroel 1997, p. 9.
  5. ^  
  6. ^ Reyes 2008, p. 261.
  7. ^ Mojares 1983, p. 131.
  8. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 58.
  9. ^ a b c d Schumacher 1997, p. 106.
  10. ^ Kalaw 1974, p. 3.
  11. ^ Kalaw 1974, p. 5.
  12. ^ a b Reyes 2008, p. 130.
  13. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 63.
  14. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 59.
  15. ^ Reyes 2008, p. 118.
  16. ^ Villarroel 1997, p. 10.
  17. ^ Batungbacal 1956, p. 27.
  18. ^ a b Villarroel 1997, p. 11.
  19. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 64.
  20. ^ Nepomuceno-Van Heugten, Maria Lina. "Edukasyon ng Bayani: Mga Impluwensya ng Edukasyong Natamo sa Kaisipang Rebolusyonaryo" (PDF). University of the Philippines Diliman Journals Online. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  21. ^ "Marcelo H. del Pilar". Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  22. ^ Villarroel 1997, p. 42.
  23. ^ Reyes 2008, p. 150.
  24. ^ a b Guerrero, Leon Ma. (December 13, 1952). "Del Pilar". The Philippines Free Press Online. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  25. ^ Batungbacal 1956, p. 29.
  26. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 86.
  27. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 87.
  28. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 62.
  29. ^ "Masonry and the Philippine Revolution". Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Schumacher 1997, p. 121.
  31. ^ Schumacher 1997, p. 122.
  32. ^ a b Schumacher 1997, p. 125.
  33. ^ a b Schumacher 1997, p. 126.
  34. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 83.
  35. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 94.
  36. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 95.
  37. ^ del Pilar, Marcelo H. (April 25, 1889). "The aspirations of the Filipinos". Barcelona, Spain: La Solidaridad. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Liberalism in the Philippines - The Revolution of 1898 : The Main Facts". Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  39. ^ Constantino 1975, p. 162.
  40. ^ Guererro, Milagros; Encarnacion, Emmanuel; Villegas, Ramon (1996), "Andrés Bonifacio and the 1896 Revolution", Sulyap Kultura (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) 1 (2): 3–12. 
  41. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 174.
  42. ^ Schumacher 1997, p. 293.
  43. ^
  44. ^ Zapanta 1967, p. 171.
  45. ^
  46. ^  
  47. ^ Lopez, Ron B. (June 11, 2013). "An afternoon at Plaridel's house". Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Famous Filipino Mason - Marcelo H. del Pilar". Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  49. ^
  50. ^ List of the José Rizal Film Cast
  51. ^ Ramos 1984, p. 86.
  52. ^ Steinberg 2000, p. 245.
  53. ^ Schumacher 1997, p. 119.
  54. ^ Abdula, Allan Yasser (May 4, 2008). """Expat in the City: Isang Pagkukuro sa "Sagot Ng Espanya sa Hibik Ng Pilipinas. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  55. ^ a b Mojares 1983, p. 132.


  • Batungbacal, José (1956). Great Architects of Filipino Nationality. Manila: University Publishing Company.  
  • Kahayon, Alicia H. (1989). Philippine Literature: Choice Selections from a Historical Perspective. Manila: National Book Store.  
  • Keat, Gin Ooi (2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.  
  • Ramos, Maria S. (1984). Panitikang Pilipino. Quezon City: Katha Publishing Company.  
  • Reyes, Raquel A. G. (2008). Love, Passion, and Patriotism: Sexuality and the Philippine Propaganda Movement, 1882 - 1892. Singapore: NUS Press.  
  • Schumacher, John N. (1997). The Propaganda Movement, 1880-1895: The Creation of a Filipino Consciousness, the Making of the Revolution. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.  
  • Zapanta, Lea S. (1967). The Political Ideas of Marcelo H. del Pilar. Quezon City: University of the Philippines.  

External links

  • Bulacan, Philippines: Tourism: Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine
  • ¡Caiñgat Cayo!
  • Philippine History - Plaridel
  • The Philippine Revolution: La Solidaridad
This statement inspired the

almost on his own as funding was scarce in the Philippines. Publication of the fortnightly stopped on November 15, 1895. Before his death, del Pilar rejected the theory of assimilation. Planning an armed struggle, del Pilar stated: La SolidaridadFrom 1890 to 1895, del Pilar published

Closure of La Solidaridad (1895)

Del Pilar arrived in Barcelona on January 1, 1889.[35] He headed the political section of the Asociación Hispano-Filipina de Madrid (Hispanic Filipino Association of Madrid).[36] On December 15, 1889, he succeeded Graciano López Jaena as editor of the La Solidaridad.[2] Under his editorship, the aims of the newspaper expanded. Using propaganda, it pursued the desires for: assimilation of the Philippines as a province of Spain; removal of the friars and the secularization of the parishes; freedom of assembly and speech; equality before the law; and Philippine representation in the Cortes, the legislature of Spain.[37][38]

A copy of La Solidaridad

Propaganda movement in Spain (1889-1896)

Del Pilar was also able to organize the Caja de Jesús, María y José, the purpose of which was to carry on propaganda and provide scholarships to indigent children.[34] He headed it with the assistance of Mariano Ponce, Gregorio Santillán, Mariano Crisóstomo, Lactao, and José Gatmaitán. Caja de Jesús, María y José was later dissolved and replaced by Comité de Propaganda (Committee of Propaganda) in Manila.

The night before he left the country, del Pilar stayed at the house of his fellow Bulaqueño, Pedro Serrano y Lactao. Together with Rafael Enriquez, they wrote the Dasalan at Tocsohan (Prayers and Mockeries), a mock-prayer book satirizing the Spanish friars.[32] They also wrote the Pasióng Dapat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Tauong Babasa (Passion That Should Inflame the Heart of the Reader).[33]

Investigations under Molto were intensified upon the arrival of the new governor-general, Valeriano Weyler (a.k.a The Butcher). Gómez Florio, the Spanish governor of Bulacan, was removed from his post. An arrest warrant was issued against del Pilar, accusing him of being a filibustero or subversive. Upon the advice of his friends and relatives, del Pilar left Manila for Spain on October 28, 1888.[31]

Later activities in the Philippines and escape to Spain (1888)

Fr. José Rodríguez, an Augustinian priest, authored a pamphlet entitled ¡Caiñgat Cayo!: Sa mañga masasamang libro,t, casulatan (Beware!: of bad books and writings, 1888). The friar warned the Filipinos that in reading Rizal's Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) they commit "mortal sin". On August 3 of the same year, del Pilar wrote Caiigat Cayó (Be as Slippery as an Eel). It was a reply to Fr. Rodríguez's ¡Caiñgat Cayó!.[30]

Del Pilar's defense of Rizal's Noli Me Tángere (1888)

On the morning of March 1, 1888, the principales of the districts of Manila and the nearby provinces (led by Doroteo Cortés and José A. Ramos) marched to the office of the civil governor of Manila, José Centeno García.[12] They presented a manifesto addressed to the Queen Regent. This manifesto, entitled "Viva España! Viva el Rey! Viva el Ejército! Fuera los Frailes!" (Long live Spain! Long live the King! Long live the Army! Throw the friars out!), was written by del Pilar.[24] The manifesto enumerated the abuses/crimes of the friars and demanded their expulsion from the Philippines including Manila Archbishop Pedro P. Payo himself. A week after the demonstration, Centeno resigned and left for Spain. Governor-general Emilio Terrero's term also ended the following month. Terrero was succeeded by acting governor-general Antonio Molto.[29]

Anti-friar protest in Manila (1888)

Pedro Payo y Piñeiro, O.P. (1814 – 1889) was the 24th Archbishop of Manila who took charge in 1876 until his death in 1889.

On January 21, 1888, del Pilar worked for the establishment of a school of "Arts, Trades, and Agriculture" by drafting of a memorial to the gobernador civil (civil governor) of Bulacan.[28] This was signed by the gobernadorcillos, ex-gobernadorcillos, leading citizens, proprietors, industrialists, professors, and lawyers of the province.

Establishment of schools in Bulacan (1888)

On October 18, 1887, Benigno Quiroga y López Ballesteros, the Director General of Civil Administration in Manila, issued an executive order prohibiting the exposition of corpses in the churches.[26] Crisóstomo, the gobernadorcillo of Malolos at that time, proclaimed Quiroga's decree by means of a parade led by a brass band. Friar Felipe García, the friar-curate of Malolos, aggravated the authorities by parading the body of the servant of Eugenio Delgado. Upon the advice of del Pilar, Crisóstomo addressed the problem to the Spanish governor of Bulacan, Manuel Gómez Florio. Gómez Florio reprimanded the fighting friar parish priest.[27]

Implementation of Quiroga's decree on funerals (1887)

Benigno Quiroga, 1894
[25] of Manila attended the celebration. Fr. Hevia was later removed as friar curate of Binondo by the governor-general. The whole incident had been prepared by Juan Zulueta, whose assessor was del Pilar.gobernadorcillos, to prioritize the natives over the Chinese in the fiesta. Fr. Hevia rejected Lanuza's request and decided not to attend the celebration. Majority of the Binondo Church of Binondo, Timoteo Lanuza, requested Fr. José Hevia Campomanes, the friar curate of gobernadorcillo de naturales. The Chinese mestizos, the notorious incident occurred between the natives, Chinese, and BinondoIn 1887, during the patronal fiesta of Our Lady of Rosary in

The Binondo incident (1887)

Malolos became the center of del Pilar's anti-friar movement. The first success of the campaign was in 1885, when the liberal Manuel Crisóstomo was elected gobernadorcillo by the citizens of Malolos. Shortly after this victorious event, del Pilar, together with the cabezas de barangay (chiefs of the barangays) of Malolos, argued with the town's friar curate over the collection of exorbitant taxes. The friar curate, who derived the cabezas list from the parochial list, included those who did not live in the town and also those who had already died.[24]

Anti-friar activities in Malolos (1885)

The pre-1863 lithograph photo of Malolos Cathedral before the earthquake that torned down its clock tower in 1863. This was one of the sites of del Pilar's anti-friar activities.
[23] (Love of Country).Ang Pagibig sa Tinubúang Lupà, Tagalog language was featured in the newspaper. Del Pilar translated it into El Amor Patrio's essay José Rizal [22] was the first bilingual newspaper in the Philippines and was financed by the wealthy Spanish liberal Francisco Calvo y Muñoz. Del Pilar became the editor of the Tagalog section.Diariong Tagalog [9] (Tagalog Newspaper) in 1882.Diariong TagalogDel Pilar, together with Basilio Teodoro Moran, founded the short-lived

Diariong Tagalog (1882)

Anti-friar campaign in the Philippines (1880-1888)

In 1878, del Pilar resumed his law studies at the UST.[18] He earned his licenciado en jurisprudencia (equivalent to a Bachelor of Laws) in 1880.[20] After finishing law, he worked for the Real Audiencia de Manila (Royal Audience of Manila). Although practicing law in Manila, del Pilar spent more time in Bulacan, spreading nationalist and anti-friar ideas in cockpits, tiendas, and town plazas.[21]

Return to UST and graduation (1878-1880)

Out of the university, del Pilar worked as oficial de mesa in Pampanga (1874-1875) and Quiapo (1878-1879).[17] In the month of February 1878, he married his second cousin Marciana (the "Chanay/Tsanay" in his letters) in Tondo.[18] The couple had seven children, six girls and one boy: Sofía, José, María Rosario, María Consolación, María Concepción, José, and Ana (Anita). Only two girls, Sofía and Anita, grew to adulthood (five children died before becoming adults).[19]

Activities after the Cavite mutiny and marriage (1873-1878)

The deportation of Fr. Toribio resulted into the early death of del Pilar's mother. [16]

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